The Roar
The Roar


World Cup Diary: Matildas smash ratings records, England given almighty scare by Nigeria but squeak through on pens

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8th August, 2023
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The Matildas aren’t just smashing opponents in the FIFA Women’s World Cup – they’re smashing records, too.

Last night’s win over Denmark was the highest rating show anywhere on TV in Australia in 2023, beating out all three State of Origin games, every AFL match and, yes, even Married at First Sight.

3.18m people tuned into Channel 7 for the match, with another 385,000 on their streaming service, a full half a million more than saw their win over Canada a week before.

Now, they have the queen of Aussie women’s sport in their sights: Ash Barty.

The crowning act of her amazing tennis career, winning the Australian Open in January 2022, was watched by 3.6m viewers on Channel 9, meaning that the Matildas would have to find another half a million to top that.

Last night saw more viewers than any NRL Grand Final in the last decade and more than all but four AFL Grand Finals since 2000.

The current record holder for the post-Sydney Olympics era is the 2005 Australian Open Final, featuring Aussie superstar Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin, which topped 4m viewers, just edging out the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup Final, between Australia and England.

With a favourable 5.30pm timeslot, those numbers are in sight, and if they win, a Wednesday 8pm semi-final – potentially against England – would surely see the record fall.


Unfortunately for the Matildas, the Aussie record in TV ratings blockbusters is terrible: both Hewitt and the Wallabies lost.

England given almighty scare by Nigeria but squeak through on penalties

England are through to the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals on penalties after overcoming the send-off of star midfielder Lauren James to beat Nigeria.

The Lionesses won 4-2 on penalties with substitute Chloe Kelly sealing the deal after Beth England, Rachel Daly and Alex Greenwood had all scored from the spot.

Nigeria’s Desire Oparanozie and Michelle Alozie missed with their opening two shots to put the Super Falcons behind the eight-ball.

James was sensationally sent off in the 87th minute for stomplng on the back of Nigeria defender Alozie while she was on the ground.

James was initially given a yellow card but on review it was changed to a red for her brain explosion.


She will automatically miss England’s quarter-final on Saturday in Sydney against the winner of Tuesday’s round-of-16 clash between Colombia and Jamaica.

The Lionesses composed themselves after James’ exit and defended with guile and courage for the duration of  extra time.

Alozie sprayed a shot on an open goal wide in the 98th minute while Nigeria’s Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala found goalkeeper Mary Earps in the 117th as England held firm.

England have now reached the quarter-finals in all six appearances at the World Cup. 

The referee controversially ruled a penalty initially to England in the 31st minute after contact by Nigeria midfielder Rasheedat Ajibade on Daly who tumbled over theatrically in the box. 


There was a shirt tug outside the box and some contact inside it, but the referee went to the video monitor for a review and the decision was reversed.

Ajibade caused England early concerns with her ball-winning ability and slick through-balls.

Nigeria defender Ashleigh Plumptre struck the underside of the crossbar with a rocket of a shot in the 16th minutes and then forced England goalkeeper Mary Earps to dive full length to her right to save another vicious strike.

England forward Alessia Russo had her side’s best chance in the 23rd minute when her strike was well saved by Super Falcons goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie. 

The second stanza was a minute old when striker Uchenna Kanu hit the crossbar from another Ajibade cross.

England’s best chance came with a powerful header by Daly from an Emma Greenwood cross that was magnificently saved low down by Nnadozie.